Protect Drews Pond Wood Area

Local enviromental campaigners are calling on Devizes Town Council to designate ten areas of land around Drews Pond Wood as Local Green Spaces due to their importance for wildlife, health and wellbeing as well as historical significance.

Please sign the petition, here.

Drews Pond Wood Project has looked after the Local Nature Reserve since 1990 to keep it as a special place for wildlife and a resource for local people. They are asking for your help to get more protection for the wood and its surroundings.

The Local Plan and Neighbourhood Plan are being reviewed. These plans will decide where to put hundreds more houses in Devizes. These plans shouldn’t just be about where to put development – they also need to identify areas that are special and important for people and wildlife so that they can be protected for the future.

The National Planning Framework enables communities to identify and protect areas that are of value to them through Local and Neighbourhood Plans by designating Local Green Space. This designation ensures strong development restrictions on an area. 

Make no mistake, Drew’s Pond Wood has been earmarked for development, though the application has been rejected, this doesn’t protect the area should future applications are made.

Thanks goes to local environmentalist, Joe Brindle and his team for creating the campaign and raising awareness of this. It is supported by the Drew’s Pond Wood Project.

Please sign the petition, here.


Little Eco, Big Step in the Right Direction

Yesterday spent wisely, at the wonderful Little Eco; Devizes first zero-waste shop…..

 

Shopping bags are in the boot, but when I’m on my own I forget. Damn, buy another bag, it’s just one after all. Last supermarket visit I figured no, as I had my daughter’s help; I left her to scan the items at the self-service checkout, and made haste to the car to fetch them. Yeah, double-whammy; I jogged, part way!

I’ll confess I’m guilty, but at least I’m willing to. Rapidly aging, stuck in my ways, yeah; the stereotype Greta scorns at. Yet I don’t care who is warning me, it doesn’t patronise me what age they are. The younger they are the more they’ll have to face the consequences, ergo if you lambast youth for telling you that you need to do more, shame on you. The irony is some take it personally, insecure with guilt and try denial. This current wave of ecological outcry addresses world governments, rather than the individual. Still, personally taking as much action as you can pushes that little bit towards the good.

Here’s a little slice of that good, recently arrived in Devizes. The Little Eco shop is lovely, and as it says, little, but the grand step in the right direction our town needs. Situated in that yard, Wharfside, on Couch Street, I popped into our first zero-waste shop, to meet owner Jeni. A number of customers browsed the delightful array of dispensers, scoop-bins and glass jars. There is also a central feature with organic gifts and accessories.

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Few customers had been here before, and bought containers with them. For the rest, glass and recycled tubs and containers are available, along with paper bags. The vessels are tared in, and they’re free to shop, many asking for assistance to dispense items; this innovative process is in the making of becoming normal practise. Even the receipt is an email, if required.

While this store may not be a hypermarket, its quaint surroundings harbour a surprisingly vast array of goods. There’re cleaning liquids, of which I profess to know nothing of such matters, erm, washing-up liquid, and erm, that washing powder and soap stuff! Now, onto the tucker, which I can do; they’ve got organic maple syrup, and there’s pasta, rice, cereals and organic maple syrup, flour, herbs, dried fruit, chocolate, and erm, so much stuff, did I mention the organic maple syrup?

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The Little Eco Shop has been open since September; Jeni acknowledged the prospect of little acorns. Perishable goods, I think, will make or break it. Still, the like of this needs to be a supermarket, it needs to be central in town, in every town, and it needs a comprehensive fresh range; veg, bread, milk (yeah, I mentioned that!) But at this early stage, what it really needs is your attention first and foremost.

Aside David Attenborough’s influence, we chatted about supermarkets mostly. I referenced how my Nan would tell of pre-supermarket days, when you took your butter dish to the shop, your salt shaker, and they filled them. Without realising they had the carbon footprint of a beatnik amoeba. It’s only since our thirst for efficient consumer self-service, we’ve accumulated this mountain of waste packaging and terrible throw-away ethos. The final straw for me came a few years ago in a petrol station, upon noticing a single orange wrapped in a hard-plastic container; it’s a bloody orange for crying out loud, nature provided it’s packaging.

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The greatest dilemma facing Jeni is the progression of supermarkets towards reducing waste. I have to hand it to McDonalds, taking heed of eight-year-old Jacob Douglas, from Basildon, and a small number of other children, and have banned Happy Meal plastic toys. If they listen to what the future generation tell them, surely so can you. Yet, so can and will the supermarkets given time, and if so, Jeni’s self-built business is at risk, but her ethics have had a profound effect.

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“If anybody’s sceptical,” I asked Jeni, “it’s over convenience; could you serve the town as quickly as a supermarket?” Negatively she replied but retorted with the notion it’s the personal feel at Little Eco. Jeni expressed the turning trend in the desire to shop at the butchers and greengrocers, who will greet you at the tingling of the bell. Supermarkets steer away from human contact, but if the change to self-service checkouts can be turned around in such a short space of time, a move towards a doable solution to zero-waste on a mass scale could too, by these clever-clogs, if they so wished.

For now, though, we have this gorgeous and friendly shop, yes, it takes a little longer to shop, but I encourage you to try it out; I’m not accepting freebie banana chips, this is not an advertorial, I don’t spew that baloney on you. Crunch time comes down to price then, as ever, and I think you’d be pleasantly surprised it’s competitive and kept at a minimum. Filled a paper bag with my beloved banana chips and was impressed it was just pence, so got myself another scoop-full!

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We wish Jeni and the Little Eco shop all the best of luck with this venture, and in order for it to work, the town must show its support, after all, they’ve got a giant cask of organic maple syrup, if I failed to mention it!


DOCA’s  Lantern Buy Back Scheme

Along with The Town Hall and The Healthy Life, Little Eco also has a scheme in conjunction with DOCA, where old lantern lights that you may have stowed away from previous parades can be recycled. It’s a lantern light amnesty! Turn your lights into reception at the Town Hall, The Little Eco Shop  and The Healthy Life Company. For every working lantern returned you will receive 50p, no questions asked!

The scheme will be running from 11th November to 14th December 2019.

DOCA state, “We can all play a part in making this years festival events greener, but we need your help to reduce the impact of our events on the environment, returning lanterns is one way of doing this!” More information here.


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No Surprises Living in Devizes: Conkers or Bonkers?

Around this season in years gone by, kids yielding nailed planks and discarded house-bricks gathered in the suburban scrapheap where I grew up. No, it wasn’t something as vicious as a rival school skirmish, that would’ve been later in the term. They congregated unsupervised at the aptly named Chestnut Crescent, to lob items into trees.

 

The parameters of health and safety would’ve been a call to “watch out,” while children launched said items, wrecked go-karts and toddlers airborne. Those who dared scramble the shelling zone would collect spoils the big kids disregarded. There was no more order then this; if you were hit you learned a lesson, for the sake of conkers.

 

 

Next day my Dad would search his shed for his screwdriver, while mum was adamant she wouldn’t put the cooker on just to bake conkers. But, mention the game to kids these days, they’d probably search Google Play-Store on their tablets; “nope Dad, no such game exists; you’re making it up.”

 

Kids don’t play conkers, it’s vanished along with concrete playground floors and triangular shaped flapjack, because we’re health and safety conscious, aren’t we?

 

Yeah right, not while a nation sinks under hurricanes, yet insists “god’s punishing us for electing a Muslim president.” I watched a video on this; Middle Americans witnessed their town submerged, even remarked it’s happening more frequently, awaiting Trump to slip his undercrackers outside his suit, don a cloak and save the day.

 

They really believe climate change is a hoax; the word of a xenophobic, chauvinistic melted figurine of He-Man, who scrapped Obama’s flood protection standards days prior to Harvey, over scientists.

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We’ve gone from conkers to bonkers. What do scientists gain from fibbing? What about crocked politicians in bed with the energy industry? Hum… tricky.

 

That insane trigger-happy President is proof alone we’re far from health and safety conscious, with 6,800 nuclear warheads at his disposal, compared to North Korea’s four; he can’t be trusted with a Twitter account, let alone a nuclear arsenal.

 

“Don’t throw that triangular shaped flapjack son, it might be dangerous.”

 

“Don’t vote for selfish, warmongering pricks Dad, it might be slightly more dangerous.”

 

And we follow them like sheep, desperate for a trade deal because we wanted our cake and to eat it. If Middle Americans believe it, we’re never far behind.

 

So, don’t be giving me H&S assurances, not while we speed like a bat out of hell with blatant disregard, while rotting conkers line pavements and gardens; take this as a metaphoric Brexit remark, or a literal stab that we drive too fast, I’ve overtaken caring; conkers to bonkers, see?

 

From Rotherstone residents rightfully wishing to close their road to cars, to the stretch from Honey Street to Woodbrough being upgraded, existing chicanes outside the school being treated as a challenge rather than a traffic calming measure. It’s called Broad Street, not Brands Hatch. Past tragedies seemingly forgotten, our need to get to work paramount; time is money.

 

We must stop this craziness and slow down, it really is this simple. Why even make a car with a hundred on the clock? Yet, mention an electric car or bike and we quiver; the prospect to skid in a climate change conspiracy theory puddle.

 

Step in Sustainable Devizes, using their (third Saturday) monthly stall in the Shambles yesterday to promote their Next Generation Vehicles Show, to be displayed at the Market Place on Saturday 30th, from 9am to 3pm. Working to reduce the town’s carbon footprint, they invite you to throw off the stigma, come see, and test drive, a large variety of electric vehicles, from hybrid cars to scooters.

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Over the winter Sustainable will be hosting a variety of talks at the Quaker Meeting House, starting on 11th October’s discussion on Food Assemblies. Being Devizes is breaking the limit for nitrous oxide emissions, we owe it to the future, rather than continue the current slack attitude; we can’t even be trusted to park responsibly.

 

It’s all fun on the Parking like a Muppet Facebook page, but the shebang appears to have attracted Traffic Wardens on overtime.

 

Once a free-parking day, sparks flew on social media as a photo of a traffic warden who either appeared to be working on a Sunday, or least playing a game on his mobile.

 

Comments roared about changing times. I dispatched an email to Mrs Bilella, processing officer of Wiltshire Council’s parking services, asking why this has suddenly come to pass, being Sunday has always been free to park in Devizes and inquiring about changes; signs don’t display this information.

 

The reply was prompt but vague, “Officers have always worked on Sundays; this has not changed. There will be a consultation soon regarding parking charges, this will be available at libraries, online and local newspapers.”

 

Within the day I asked to be sent the details, but was told, “Please check the website for more details,” which I searched but found nought. I commented on the post, asking the tagged traffic warden if he was merely checking for Muppets, or parking fees had been secretly introduced. I inquired, more importantly, his high score on Snake. But commenting on the post was turned off prior to his reply; I bet Joanne Moore doesn’t have these problems, but she reports, I’m just here to wind you up!

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So, I’ve no idea what’s what; park like a Muppet and face changing consequences for all I care. More professional whinger, Iain Wallis rightfully ranted it’s, “become a target for raising parking charges where other similar towns pay half what we do, and see no rise. Is it because we’re doing markedly better than other towns? Or is it because we seem to try and stand apart from Wiltshire Council?”

 

Mr Wallis suggested the proposed increase is, “a fudging of the law to allow rural bus route funding, when the road traffic act specifically forbids using parking charges to top up other budgets.” The concern the consultation will affect business in town; no surprises there.

 

Traffic wardens don’t receive fair representation, but I’m not here to set any records straight. Sorry guys, but it’s when you say, “just doing my job sir.” Well don’t; find another job, go cull badgers, or something more productive.

 

Here’s another annoyance; cull puppies too, they bite. No, love puppies, but not badgers; out of sight out of mind. I see them, every morning, they’re my work buddies, with their silly waddles; until, because of our persistence to speed, they’re roadkill.

 

Until we slow down we’re wiping out enough of this beautiful wildlife already, and without sufficient research to prove a cull will cure bovine TB in cattle, we’ve no right to go through with this. Wait for scientist’s reports, or we mirror Middle-Americans, wailing climate change is a hoax while neck deep in flooding.

 

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